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ECOOP/ISSTA pre-conference blog post by Felix SchülerSat 14 Jul 2018

I am a Master’s student in Computer Science at the TU Berlin and am currently writing my master’s thesis on extending a tensor algebra compiler with some optimizations and making it more generic.

My Bachelor’s degree was in Cognitive Science and I was always interested in data analysis and statistics but found the tools always a little bit clumsy and badly designed. That’s why I became interested in the area where data science, databases, and programming languages overlap. Somehow, I thought there must be a way to make data science both usable and performant, and now I think that the area to look for this is especially this intersection of programming language and database systems.

In my thesis research I am thinking about how to use well-establish compiler techniques together with new ideas on representing data and computation to be able to generate very efficient code which so far had to be written by hand. I also think that combining the world of relational algebra that is used as a foundation to manage most data in databases and (linear) tensor algebra which is used in most data science and machine learning problems is would make a lot of data analysis pipelines not only easier to write but also more efficient. The logical gap that exists between those two is present in most of todays frameworks and libraries and leads to fragmented optimizations and user-experiences. I think combining them and generalizing data and computation can bridge this gap and I hope to find some insights on this by attending the conference.

Especially from workshops such as ML4PL but also the general direction that programming research is going into right now where data and computation is becoming more and more important. I think there will be a lot of interesting talks and conversations around this topic, not only because of the current ML hype.

Besides the conference I am excited to attend the summer school where I not only hope to learn from experienced researchers about programming languages but also get some more general advice on what to do after my Master’s. Meeting other people who are passionate and excited about my own interests is one of the most exciting things in research after all!